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According to the Toronto Star the Jays have designated Shea Hillenbrand for assignment after an incident earlier in the day.

The Jays have 10 days to trade or assign Hillenbrand to their minor-league system, something they almost certainly would not do. In that case, he would be given his release.

Hillenbrand packed his bags during the game and headed back to his Toronto home a few hours after a bizarre series of events that saw the designated hitter criticize the team’s management. A clubhouse incident before batting practice, that Hillenbrand said was “meant to be humourous and fun for teammates” and involved other players besides him, led to Gibbons ripping him in a closed-door clubhouse meeting afterwards.

When the game began, Hillenbrand remained in the clubhouse and refused to head into the dugout. Gibbons later entered the clubhouse during the game and informed him that he was being designated.

Well, that seemingly came out of nowhere.

The Padres released Vinny Castilla earlier today so perhaps that'd be a good fit. The Angels always seem to be interested in Hillenbrand as well so that's another possibility. But at this point Hillenbrand's trade value can't be too significant. If the Jays want a good prospect they'll probably have to eat most of Hillenbrand's remaining salary. If they want a team to pick up his whole salary they're not likely to get anything more than a C prospect.

The Aubrey Huff trade to Houston is probably a good example of what the Jays may be able to get. In that trade the Astros gave up a couple of AA players - one a pitcher whose upside is a 4-5 starter and a SS that projects as a utility player. The Devil Rays also included a portion of Huff's salary in the trade.

Jays Designate Hillenbrand For Assignment | 92 comments | Create New Account
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Dave501 - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#151007) #

Strange, the way he talks, in the article, as though he has a long standing personal dispute with gibbons, yet Gibbons was apparently a guy who campaigned for him to remain a Jay in the off-season.

All in all, I think this is a little spat where both sides are wrong.  Hillenbrand seems selfish, but Jays mgmt definatley lacks loyalty to their players, as evidenced by the way they jerk around their releivers, JP's criticisms to the two rookie starters (who have actually filled in better then anyone would have expected if we'd been told at the beginning of the year that they'd be in the start6ing rotation), and to a lesser extent, the middle infield situation.  I hope they jays mgmt can learn from this year and get better, because it seems to me we have a lot vested in Ricciardi.

Flex - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#151008) #
I'm a bit astonished at all the defense of Hillenbrand in the other thread. If you want to see a player dealing with adversity with class, you look at how Hinske handled the first three months of this season. Hillenbrand obviously has his apologists, but by his recent behaviour he's lost my support.
TimberLee - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#151010) #

This certainly comes as a surprise. I always thought that management was going out of its way to get Shea into the lineup, even playing him at third when he showed he was terrible there, and continuing to use him against rhp even as his effectiveness diminished. I recall a number of comments that seem to indicate that management liked him for his ' competitiveness', whatever that means. And, finally, he seemed to be the one most often grounding to short rather than trying to hit to the right side to move a runner.

The "bottom line", as they say, is I hope they can still get something of value for him, although that seems less likely now.

VBF - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#151012) #

look at how Hinske handled the first three months of this season

Then again, I don't see JP calling Hinske out in the papers for his paltry attempt at baseball over the last 3 years, or Gibbons publicly humiliating him in front of his teammates everytime he did something Gibbons didn't like.

I'm not blindly defending Hillenbrand--I think he too acted inappropriately upon further information. The best thing he could have done was to go to the dugout and do what he's done well his whole life. Even in the most extreme cases, the most professional athletes prove their points on the field.

However, given the situation and the heat of the moment, he did what alot of good people would do. This is an instance in baseball where there is a huge weight placed on emotion and humanity. The fact is, he has a newborn baby at home without a father with no indication that he would actually serve a meaningful purpose in tonight's game.  That's what this whole saga circles around.

Imagine you're a father with a newborn daughter at home when your boss calls you to a conference in Florida. You get to Florida only to find that the boss doesn't want you to participate, but he still wants you to sit in your hotel room and go to restaurants with your team of colleagues. Sure, the consumate professional will do what he is told, but the human being inside is understandably upset at your bosses insensitivity to the situation.

Shea will be missed by his many fans in Toronto.

Gerry - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#151013) #
Hillenbrand wants to play every day, as he admits himself if he is not playing he needs to know why.  Hillenbrand is a good guy to have on your team when he is going well and playing and a pain in the ass when he is not.  If he is not going to be playing then he needs to be off the team.
Flex - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#151015) #
Imagine you're a father with a newborn daughter at home when your boss calls you to a conference in Florida. You get to Florida only to find that the boss doesn't want you to participate, but he still wants you to sit in your hotel room and go to restaurants with your team of colleagues. Sure, the consumate professional will do what he is told, but the human being inside is understandably upset at your bosses insensitivity to the situation.

Media reports seem to indicate that Hillenbrand initiated some stunt in the clubhouse before the game that he thought would be funny. But somehow he didn't find the time to get on the field and take fielding practice. At least, Gibbons indicated that's the reason he wasn't in the lineup tonight: "He’s been out four games,’’ Gibbons said. “He needs to work in the field a bit.’’

If I'm asked by my boss to come to a conference, and then when I show up I indicate by my behaviour that my head's not in my work, I wouldn't blame him for making me sit. I'd sit, and I'd shut up. And then I'd take the first opportunity to make amends, not make a public scene.
Glevin - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#151018) #
This is not a surprise to me at all. Hillenbrand always had the reputation of being a jerk. I don't think Huff is a good comp. Huff's career OPS is better than Hillenbrand's career high. Also, like La Duca, everyone (I think) knows that Hillenbrand is useless in the second half of the year. (.752 OPS after the break over the last three years/.833 before). He also just can't really hit against righties or field. He's a useful platoon player with a bad attitude. I can't imagine a team giving up more than a middling prospect or two for him. After the Reds/Nats trade though, I suppose anything is possible.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#151020) #
  There's obviously been  some conflict behind closed doors, but everything that's out in the open makes Hillenbrand look pretty bad. He's been struggling for the last month and a half. He takes four days off for personal matters (which I can't begrudge him) and returns and is offended he's not right back in the starting lineup.
  If Gibbons doesn't like him, it's not showing up in the lineup cards, since he's played almost every game.  He's even played 19 games at first  and 17 at third, even though he's not very good at either.

Pistol - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:23 PM EDT (#151022) #
Huff's career OPS is better than Hillenbrand's career high

Well if this was 2003 that would be more useful.  Huff has been in a steady decline the past two years and Hillenbrand is good for an .800 OPS each year, give or take 20 points.  Huff had an OPS last year of .749.  This year he had a dreadful April and May and got hot in June and was traded. 

To me the only real difference is that Huff can play the OF and is left handed.

Joanna - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#151023) #

I agree with you VBF.  From what I understand, his baby girl was born at a different time than the Hillenbrands expected (that's the impression I got from the Star article earlier in the week).  We don't really know the details, nor is it really any of our business.   I hold nothing against him for taking time away from his job to look after his family. Maybe this is because I'm a woman, but if he had left his wife alone with a brand new baby, I'd respect him less.  And the front office (which has been called "a family" by many people) should have congratulated him, no matter how he took that time off.

Why did Gibby ream him out in front of the other guys?  Why is JP calling out players in the press? These guys have tremendous egos.  From Wells' reaction and now Shea's, ( and my general experience dealing with men), I really don't think public humiliation is the way to go.  It's childish and I don't like it.  Not to mention that it gives Toronto a negative reputation.  This city has enough trouble attracting talent without that rep.

Weird things are going on. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "Something's rotten in the state of the Blue Jays."

Dave Till - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:29 PM EDT (#151024) #
The whole Hillenbrand/Gibbons thing is a perfect storm of bad timing all around. Hillenbrand and his wife weren't expecting to be able to adopt so soon, and it's bad luck for the Jays that this happened at a time when the team was shorthanded offensively due to injuries to Glaus and Rios.

I don't see any winners here. Gibbons could have handled the situation better - player management is the most important part of his job. But Hillenbrand isn't owed playing time by anybody - especially considering he hasn't been hitting well in June or July.

My guess is that Hillenbrand has been unhappy all season - unhappier than he has let on - and this was just the final straw.

Out of curiosity: can the Jays change their minds within the "designated for assignment" period? The Jays won't be able to get much for him in a trade, and I don't see any contenders wanting him. The Jays are still on the fringe of the pennant race (at least until the end of the Yankee series) - would he really prefer to play regularly for a bad team?

Dave Till - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:34 PM EDT (#151027) #
I should add that I don't begrudge Shea spending time with his newborn. A new baby is a very special event in the life of a family, to state the obvious. He was wrong to spout off about playing time on his return, though.
Four Seamer - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#151031) #

It's not possible to cast a hero and a villain in this story, based on the information we have now.  Neither Hillenbrand nor Gibbons appear to be covering themselves in glory at this point, and both will have a lot to answer to in the near future as to how their relationship has spiralled out of control so rapidly, and so publicly.

Nevertheless, the Jays are once again acting extremely impetuously and immaturely here, and it's starting to become a tiresome pattern.  The jerking around of Adams and Hill, and Frasor and Chulk, has been well documented, the needless public criticism of Janssen and Taubenheim, using Jeff Blair to send a message to AJ Burnett earlier this year that his problems were all in his head.

This sort of crisis is the last thing this teams needs, after another untimely performance by Speier tonight.  The season comes down to the next four games, unfortunately.  I think Gibbons and Ricciardi are extremely close to losing this squad.  Anything less than three out of four from the Yankees, and I think the season might be lost. 

Mike D - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#151032) #

I think that the whole situation is incredibly sad, and thus I agree with Joanna.  Either JP doesn't treat players the way Toronto GMs used to, or Gibby doesn't treat players the way Toronto managers used to, or Shea isn't of the character historically typical of a Toronto player.  Whichever the answer is, situations have simply not escalated to this point in years in which the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club have been contenders.

And the timing couldn't have been worse with such a large series looming this weekend.  Hopefully the club can rally around the skipper -- and it wouldn't be unprecedented (e.g., Jose Guillen in Anaheim).  Assuming the Jays get minor leaguers in return, mark my words -- the Jays now need to acquire a big league bench bat in addition to whatever pitching needs they hope to address.

Dave Till - Wednesday, July 19 2006 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#151037) #
Whichever the answer is, situations have simply not escalated to this point in years in which the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club have been contenders.

Actually, it has happened before: Cito Gaston basically threw David Wells off his team in spring training in 1993. But it was in the spring, and Wells wasn't a key component of the team.
js_magloire - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:01 AM EDT (#151039) #
Someone said that because Vinny Castilla was dropped, that something was brewing with the Padres because they need a 3b. At first I thought it meant getting Castilla - but thats crazy. There is a chance that Riccardi already has something more or less worked out with a club - preliminary agreements - before DFA'ing him. Otherwise, Riccardi is really decreasing his chance to reap rewards for Hillenbrand, who in the Keith Law chat on ESPN yesterday asked if he could even get Howie Kendrick for him. From wanting a putting yourself in a corner to get nothing and losing money....he has to have something already up his sleeve.

I think the problem here is that Shea was just not happy here. Period. He bickered about playing time too much and kept bugging Gibbons (who wanted him to be kept in the offseason) and the Jays tried to play him, even defensively, to keep him happy, and even while slumping. I think its just an excuse that "no one ever congratulated me." Boo hoo. He's a 6 year vet. From what I've seen, when players wives usually give birth to babies, they take only 1 or 2 days off. Not the whole All-star break, and an extra 4, or more. It's almost an informal rule. Same with marriages - last year Chacin got married and started on the same day. He didn't go and have his honeymoon. These guys make a lot of money and they know what its like to live the life of a baseball player. Many of them aren't with their kids a lot of the time anyway. I am on the Blue Jays side with this one. However, I hope JP knew what he was doing when he DFA'd him. It's not worth decreasing his return in value just to make an extra emphasis on trading him. And JP should know that. If not then he acts childish and angry too.

Ryan C - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:16 AM EDT (#151042) #
The only thing that really sticks out to me is that Hillenbrand keep saying that the Jays were sitting him with "no justifiable reason".  He even went and talked to Gibbons about it a couple times and he couldnt give him a "justifiable reason" he says.  I wonder what Shea considers justified, and why he thinks Gibbons owes him an explanation every time he sits?  Im sure Shea would disagree, but to me the short answer is that he's only around the 7th best hitter on the team and that guy just doesnt get to play every single day unless he has a great glove, which Shea might agree, he does not have.

Jacko - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 06:58 AM EDT (#151057) #
I think DFA'ing is wrong unless a trade is already in place. As a GM or manager I would have told him to go home and not go around the team before having your hand forced to trade him in 10 days. One thing that does concern me is the clubhouse being affected by it. Reading the AP's article it sounds like Wells support Hillebrand where comments by Cat support the front office. The most damaging part of all this is the effect on the clubhouse and most of the attention (distraction maybe?) is now going to be on the Hillenbrand issue and not the important Yanks series.

Blame Hillenbrand for the DFA.

It was his popping off to the media and refusing to join his teammates in the dugout which forced the Jays' hand.  It was an act of gross insubordination, and it had to be responded to.

I have no idea if Gibbons baited him into it or not.  But from the sounds of it, he was more interested in horsing around than getting ready for the game last night, which is why Gibbons "reamed him out" behind closed doors before the game.  The key concept is "closed doors".  The matter was intended to be kept private, but Shea decided it was better to turn it into a media circus afterwards.  It also sounds like this has been building for a while, and last night's antics (both pre and post reaming) were what pushed things over the edge.

I think this will help, not hinder things for the Yankees series.  The Jays are a team in need of a serious wake up call.  Hopefully this was it.

Jordan - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 07:23 AM EDT (#151058) #
I think Dave and Mike D have put their fingers on it best. My sympathy for Hillenbrand is limited -- by his words and actions, he forced the Jays to make a move that has substantially weakened the club and hurt its playoff chances.
The Blue Jays now have two offensive sinkholes, SS and DH, as well as a shortage of reliable pitchers. I don't see much return coming for Hillenbrand now -- the team wasn't flush with trade offers for him before this, and I expect him to be released ten days from now and then picked up by another team. I have more sympathy for the Jays than Hillenbrand in this particular situation.

That said, this organization has not dealt well with adversity all season. As the going has gotten tough, the Blue Jays have gotten, by turns, rigid, impulsive and panicky. Hillenbrand was not an easy guy to manage -- he wanted a full-time position, but the Jays couldn't give one to him and no other team wanted to give value for him -- but you need to manage all 25 guys, not just the easy ones. Ricciardi's leadership and decison-making through the rough spots has been, I think, questionable at best. Looking at the season as a whole, the management team appears to have lost more control as it has tried to tighten its grip. I think the front office could use a good, long look at itself this off-season.

What should not be lost in all this, however, is that Shea Hillenbrand for Adam Peterson was one of the best trades JP has ever pulled off. It's just a shame it had to end this way.
Pistol - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#151061) #

Some more from the Sun this morning:

  • Hillenbrand wrote "This is a sinking ship" on the board in the Jays lockerroom
  • "He was a cancer in this clubhouse," another player said. "Shea's day went the way the lineup card went. If he was in the lineup, everything was fine. If he wasn't he'd sulk. Sometimes he wouldn't even come out to hit." 
  • And the always fun Manny being Manny quote:  "From an outsider's view, some things he said could be taken the wrong way," Wells said. "Everyone in the clubhouse knew it was Shea being Shea." 
Jacko - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#151063) #
I think Dave and Mike D have put their fingers on it best. My sympathy for Hillenbrand is limited -- by his words and actions, he forced the Jays to make a move that has substantially weakened the club and hurt its playoff chances.
The Blue Jays now have two offensive sinkholes, SS and DH, as well as a shortage of reliable pitchers. I don't see much return coming for Hillenbrand now -- the team wasn't flush with trade offers for him before this, and I expect him to be released ten days from now and then picked up by another team. I have more sympathy for the Jays than Hillenbrand in this particular situation.

I seriously doubt Hillenbrand will get through waivers and be released.  In this marketplace, Hillenbrand is relatively cheap at 2.5 MM for the remainder of the season.  There's more than a few teams who could use his bat.

Angels: Need some depth after injuries to Erstad, Kotchman, and McPherson
Twins: Lost Hunter and Stewart recently, their remaining options at OF also happen to play 3B (Cuddyer and Punto)
Padres: Just cut Vinny Castilla, looking for other options at 3B

The Giants are also rumoured to be looking for another bat for the stretch run.

Best case scenario: there's a bidding war, and the Jays come away with a decent prospect or two
Worst case scenario: Hinske gets claimed on waivers, and his new team assumes his contract

Hillenbrand may be far inferior to someone like Bobby Abreu, but at least he doesn't come with a 40 MM dollar price tag.

Frank Markotich - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 08:54 AM EDT (#151064) #

I agree 100% with Jacko. If a player is insubordinate, you have to get rid of him right away. Otherwise, you might as well make Shea Hillenbrand the manager of the team. If he wants to adopt a child in the middle of the season, fine, but come back focused on the job. This team is still in the race, and while they probably don't have enough to catch both Boston and New York, they have a legitimate shot and the team has to be reminded of what the collective goal is.

Hillenbrand will be traded within 10 days. Somebody will give you something for him, probably a minor leaguer or two. It won't be a big haul, but that wasn't happening anyway; otherwise a deal would already have been made. As long as more than one team sees Shea as a help down the stretch, they'll be willing to part with some sort of value to ensure being the team to get him.


Jordan - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#151065) #

It was a salary dump, only this time the Jays were the buyers.

Indeed, but the Jays got a lot more out of Hillenbrand than the Yanks ever did out of The Buffalo (and at a much lower price). JP took a lot of heat for that acquisition at the time -- I had my doubts too -- but Hillenbrand provided good value for his salary and Peterson has long since disappeared from view. It was a good move.

Hillenbrand's actions, as reported by The Sun, endear me even less to him.

Mike D - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#151066) #
Wow.  Reading the Star, I agreed with Richard Griffin that it didn't matter whose fault it was -- this was handled poorly and it will negatively affect the estimation of the club within the playing community.  But reading the Sun, that view is definitely called into question.  If everything in Bob Elliott's story is true, then he had to go, and go immediately.
Four Seamer - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#151068) #

If everything in Bob Elliott's story is true

I guess there's a first time for everything.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#151069) #
There are probably at least three versions of what occurred between Ricciardi, Gibbons and Hillenbrand in terms of commitments made about playing time.  What does seem clear is that Hillenbrand was not satisfied with his role on the club. 

Mike D correctly points out that the Jays will now need a right-handed bat, particularly during Rios' extended absence.  In my view, that, and the middle infield, are higher priorities than the pitching staff.  Hopefully with this episode behind him, Gibbons can focus his attention on returning to the more effective bullpen management that he showed last year.  I believe that he does have the horses.

Joanna - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#151073) #

Recipe for making a mess

1. GM has giant ego.  Operates using said ego.  Get more payroll and raise expectations.  GM thinks "Wow, do I kick ass or what? Eat it, Boston and NY.  J-P! J-P! J-P! .... I mean Blue Jays, Blue Jays!!!!"

2.  Because one is operating with that ego, when things go below enormous expectations, pressure is felt.  GM thinks: "I'm I not as good as I think? Nooooo,  it must be the team.  Yes, that's it.  They aren't trying enough. I'm going to call the Sun and tell them all about it. I'm gonna name names!" 

3.  As a result, GM pressures inexperienced manager to perform. A  usually affable guy (albeit one with an enormous ego), manager starts to feel the heat. Gets affronted and crabby. 

4. Players are alienated.  Start rumbling.  Things aren't going as they should. Leader of players, also affable (but with large ego),  stands up to his GM, re. comments to Sun.  Some players are affronted, some say suck it up.  Dissention in the ranks.

5. Weird vibe around the team.  A player, who is crabby and eccentric, but often seems able to smack the snot out of the baseball.  Has big ego.  And does weird things. Leaves the team for personal reasons,  but he is offended (that pesky ego again). Yaps to the media (apparently his best friends).  Makes dumb joke, dumb joke that is taken the wrong way.  Affable but pressured manager goes off on weird player, in front of everyone. So embarassing.  Weird player's ego hurts.  So does manager's.

6. Weird player is DFA'd. GM says "No one is above a team. Only some GMs are above a team. He must go."

7. Some players say "Good riddance, it was a dumb joke anyway!" Some say "Crazy!" Some say "I'm afraid." Some say "This makes me want to play in Texas, my hetero life mate Michael Young says this crap won't happen there. C'mon free agency!" Some say "Ow, my ego!" Dissention in the ranks.

8. Next to go, is the affable/ inexperienced manager.  Why? Because someone has to take the fall, and it sure as hell won't be the GM.  Even though he is the architect of this madness.  But his ego must not hurt.

If only the egos weren't involved. Silly boys.

robertdudek - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#151076) #
To me the only real difference is that Huff can play the OF and is left handed.

Have you seen Huff play the outfield?
Pistol - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#151081) #
I'll amend that to teams are willing to put Huff in the OF.
Pistol - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#151087) #
Perhaps LeCroy is a good option for a righty bat now.  The Nats designated him earlier in the week.
Jordan - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#151089) #

Some observations on the actual game last night -- the Jays caught no breaks at all. Gibbons was right to keep Janssen out there as long as he did, rather than yanking him for Indistinguishable Middle Reliever #4 at the first sign of trouble. De Rosa's home run was a Jim Sundberg Special -- just snuck over the fence -- and the go-ahead two-run double was an opposite-field twister that found the only hole on the left side of the infield. A demoralizing series for the Jays -- they could have won all three games with some better luck and better decision-making.

Looking for silver linings: Marcum and Janssen really impressed these last two starts. Granted that the Rangers don't seem as dangerous a lineup away from Texas, it was still some fine work from two guys who absolutely have to pitch to their potential if the Jays want to make a serious run over the next couple of seasons. It gives one hope.

dan gordon - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#151090) #

Fascinating interview with Hillenbrand on The Fan 590 a few minutes ago.  He claims that Gibbons challenged him to a fight amid a curse laiden tirade.  Of course, he denies everything negative that has been said about him - the message on the board, ripping the Canadian flag off his cap, etc. etc.  He said he had a very good idea who claimed he was a cancer in the clubhouse, but refused to name him, although he said the player was a self proclaimed leader in the clubhouse.

Amazing how different the two sides are painting this picture.  No doubt that, as usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I don't think they've made a roster move yet for the 25 man.  Still think Lydon would be a good add for a bat vs LHP.

Maldoff - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#151119) #

Ineresting article on insider by Jerry Crasnick regarding the Hillenbrand situation.  To paraphrase (once again...don't want to give away the goods for free), he says that Hillenbrand's actions are nothing new, even rehashing Hillenbrand's goodbye to the Red Sox, in which he compared himself to Jeff Bagwell.  The situation this week apparently unfolded as such: Shea went home for 3 days, but didn't actually ask management for permission, he had his agent do so. The Jays granted his leave, saying he needed to be back for Tuesday night. Shea arrived at the park at 5:30, so Gibby held him out.  Then, Gibby held Shea out of last night's game because Hinske hits Millwood better than Shea, to which Shea responded by popping off to the media. He then wrote a THREE sentence note on the board: "Play for yourselves. Play for you paycheck. The ship is sinking".

If that's true, he definitely is not worth having around. As someone who is a veteran and should be OK with sitting if it's a baseball decision, and his actions (re sentences) are just bad for morale.

Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#151131) #

I can't imagine the Rangers would want Hillebrand. Blalock at 3B, Teixeira at 1B and Mark DeRosa, who's hitting something like .335, as the regular DH or utility guy allowing someone else to "DH the day off" ... what would Hillebrand bring to Texas? Unless he's really developed that 93 MPH splitter or a devestating knuckle-curve, there's nothing he would add to a team still teetering on playoff contention.

Hmmm, THAT sounds familiar ...

Rob - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#151138) #
This just in -- Hillenbrand has denied his written comments and seems to be letting Gibbons off the hook:

I never let on that I was on a sinking ship
I never let on that I was down
You blame yourself for what you can't ignore
You blame yourself for wanting more

Pistol - Thursday, July 20 2006 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#151145) #
Blair blog on the situation - I don't think there's anything new, but it's always good to read Blair.
Craig B - Friday, July 21 2006 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#151164) #
As always, the boys from The Dugout (the official chatroom of Major League Baseball) tell us how it really went down.
Pistol - Friday, July 21 2006 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#151176) #

Buster Olney in his blog (subscription) says that the Giants are the frontrunners for Hillenbrand.

According to this LA Times article:

At least seven teams — the Angels, Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres — expressed interest in Hillenbrand Thursday.

"We've had a lot of interest," said Toronto General Manager J.P. Ricciardi, who is looking for starting pitching. "Some I've liked, some I haven't liked. We'd like to get a guy who could help us in 2006 or 2007, but that doesn't have to be the case."

VBF - Sunday, July 23 2006 @ 12:18 AM EDT (#151301) #

Apologies, just for closure and so archive readers don't think I'm a total jerk, I'll just state the fact that I and several other fans made a complete 180 after finding out the true story of the Hillenbrand saga.

He played fans out to be fools and treated us as if we were idiots--his image as a hard working, quiet, lunchbox man was phony. He was a selfish, self-serving individual with little care towards the long-term goals of the team.

John Gibbons should be commended for his handling of this situation. Shea sacrificed the integrity and morals of the clubhouse, and John Gibbons defended the clubhouse to the furthest extent he could, and then some. He acted exactly like the players manager he is--defending his players in the face of controversy. It was nice to see him wearing the Canadian Flag on his hat for the third straight day during BP.

Gregg Zaun is the consumate professional I was talking about earlier. They need to resign him, no questions asked.


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